Centre has right to ask questions of J&K

Binoo Joshi

 The Centre  is keen to devote more money and resources to Jammu and  Kashmir to pace up development in the state , but  a negative attitude of the  state government in utilizing funds  and meeting  developmental targets proving to be a big hurdle .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi  while announcing Rs.80,000  crore package  for Jammu and Kashmir in  November 2015 had told the state : “ This is just the beginning, you spend this much and the Centre’s treasuries are open  forever  to meet your needs in future.”

The point that Prime Minister made out of sheer love for the people of Kashmir , whom he is keen to make equal  partners in the developmental and forward-looking agenda  of the country , is that money was not a constraint .

The Prime Minister’s Development Package  ( PMDP)  was  to build a new future for the state , devastated by  floods and  the widespread curse of violence . His thrust was on peace  and progress and he knew that the State had the talent to transform its image from being a terror-hit Valley to the tourist –friendly place .

As the public representatives in the budget session of the state legislative Assembly have voiced it that the flood relief and rehabilitation  is yet to start in some of the areas , clearly shows that the  things have not worked according to the plan. There should have been no delay in the disbursement of the relief  and the rehabilitation measures should have  been in place by now.  That  has not happened .

The collapse of a huge chunk of the bund of river Jhelum  near Lasjan in the outskirts of Srinagar city has offered yet another evidence of the casual   approach in dealing with the  works that  pose a direct  risk to lives of the people . The people and their lives have been taken for granted  by the state authorities.

The government has ordered an inquiry . It is another sad state of affairs . There is no point in holding an inquiry where  the basic problem lies with the poor work  done by the officers in the first place. No one has been punished . Now, if the money is  asked for yet again for the repair of the  embankment and improving the quality of work, the Centre has a right to ask, “ where did the money given earlier go?”

Jammu and Kashmir government should  consider that the money  given to the state comes from the pocket of the honest taxpayer in the country  and it has no right to squander the money the way  it has been doing.

Centre cannot be faulted in asking , what parameters have been achieved  in achieving the goals for which Prime  Minister  announced an unprecedented package . If the answers  are negative , then the state  should start introspecting because it is hurting the trust that the nation  reposed in the authorities in J&K for making the life of J&K  people better.

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